In the 80s the politics were simple. They got a bit muddled over the Falklands but basically you were either Labour, or you were one of Thatcher’s children. The lines were broad and passions ran high. Nuclear power was a big thing and equally divided in opinion, and any day now as I’ve said before there would be a Nuclear War. It was pretty much a certainty. They were in many way dark old days and no amount of synth-pop was going to change that. If you’re too young to remember the 80s, you won’t understand. Let me help you.
In 1985 there was Edge of Darkness. The best, take no prisoners, go straight to the front of the queue, accept no argument – the best tele of that decade. And it vies still with anything produced afterwards. Six episodes each an hour long they told a story. Bob Peck plays Ron Craven, a Police inspector with a past mired in Northern Island. His daughter Emma is killed in front of him right at the start and whilst at first it is assumed he was the target all along he is not so convinced when he finds a gun and a Geiger counter amongst her things. Bob Peck’s performance is exceptional.
The story deepens and mires. Tapping into the fears of the time we witness Craven’s journey, from the murky corridors of Whitehall to the mines and then the secrecy of Northmoor. Games and double-games are played with a story well written, a show tightly directed and again, absolutely steller performances by everyone involved. If you’ve seen it, you know what happens. If you haven’t, I won’t spoil it for you.
It’s a dizzying piece of work. It’s the only time a show on BBC was repeated almost straight after it was shown as word spread. Everyone watched Edge of Darkness. Of its time it might be, certainly the atmosphere and society it both depicted and appealed to might not be hardly current. But as the plot unravels you’ll be drawn into a work of real drama, and at times tense paranoia.
If you’ve not seen it, run (don’t walk) to where you can get the DVD. It’s a fiver at Amazon.
Seriously now, bugger off and watch Edge of Darkness.
Just make sure you don’t get the Mel Gibson remake.
And... Get me Pendleton!